Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tomie dePaola Award + Mark Twain Secret

Tribute to Mark Twain

Many of my favourite picture books while growing up were written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. His delightful stories and wonderful art were staples during my childhood story-time. So you can just imagine my excitement when I discovered The Tomie dePaola Illustrator Award!

Wow, The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators has provided me an opportunity to show my artwork to The Legendary Tomie dePaola! #HappinessOverload!

This year's theme is "black and white", and the subject is a passage from one of these classics:

Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain

The Yearling” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Super tough choice , as all three are such great stories. But I have a connection with Tom Sawyer, because at his age I too was quite the troublemaker. I wasn't as sneaky per se, but let's just say trouble always found me.

For me, the passage that best embodies Tom's character is the iconic fence painting scene. The scene is so perfect. I can envision Mark Twain's delight as he penned the precise moment that Tom turned the situation around so that Ben actually wanted to do Tom's chore for him. Hopefully you can envision this too (hint: tree branches!).

Originally I wanted to create a paper-cut design, but after exploring several different compositions, textures, and styles, I went with a mix of traditional watercolour and digital painting.

I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I did creating it!


  1. Hi Hilary,

    Did a google search for blogs mentioning Tomie over the past week, in case you wonder about the stranger stopping by.

    LOVE the über secretive insertion in the branches. Took me a good 30 seconds to see it (like any good subtlety) but it's fantastic.

    Nicely done! I'm still working through mine, and have gone through about 5 different concepts along the way. Can't wait to be done with this one, actually... I've got quite a bit of "real" illustration work calling my name!

    Best of luck to you, and see you over at the unofficial "entry gallery".

  2. Wow, thanks for dropping by Brad! Happy to hear you found Mark Twain as well. Good luck with your final piece - looking forward to seeing you over at the Gallery!